Celebrate Mental Health Month with Your Child; Make Sure a Valuing
Relationship is in Place
A child's mental health flourishes when the in-born capacity for empathy is established. A valuing
parent/child relationship is required, not just discipline.
(PRWEB) May 20, 2010 -- There’s a dangerous parenting trend occurring that does nothing to strengthen a
child’s mental health: the almost exclusive focus on discipline (to spank or not to spank, etc.) with little to no
attention on a valuing parent/child relationship.
According to Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW, a 40-year veteran mental health practitioner, “This trend is
dangerous because a valuing parent/child relationship is the lifeblood of developing a child’s good mental health.
Increasingly, parents are too busy to spend enough time with their children and often do not have enough
information about establishing a valuing relationship."
Why is good child mental health so dependent upon a valuing relationship? It establishes a kid’s inborn ability to
love and empathize with others—the most productive and pleasurable aspect of living — and it’s free. Without
this source of pleasure, material things and addiction will fill this pleasure need.
After counseling over 2,500 children, Unruh has seen over and over what happens when parents focus
exclusively on what a kid does. "It's the natural thing to do," Unruh admits, "and probably explains our excessive
focus on discipline. But parents are missing a critical part: validating the child’s feelings that cause the behavior."
Unruh’s book, Unleashing the Power of Parental Love, provides step-by-step tips and guidelines for successfully
validating a child’s feelings. This little used but critical key will open the door to a valuing parent/child
Instead of, “Stop hitting your sister” with no mention of feelings, parents using the feelings-first approach would
say, "You’re angry and handling your anger by hitting you sister." Unruh points out, "Feelings represent a child’s
core and what causes a